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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Queen Marlena

Can you believe that Comic Con 2011 is now just a few days away? Back when I booked my plane tickets (in February) it seemed as though it would never get here. Now I look at the time that has flown by since the onset of summer and I feel as though I need to scramble to make sure I have everything set to order to make the trip the best it can be. There are certainly a lot things I am looking forward to seeing, panels that I cannot wait to attend and lots of friends with whom I need to catch-up on all that has transpired since our last annual meeting in San Diego. I truly love this time. It is funny how SDCC often brings about many happy reunions, but this year that theme will run just a bit deeper. Like most of the past several years the properties I am most excited for are Masters of the Universe and DC; most notably to both is what will I be spending a great deal of money on over the next several months and into the new year. But the annual MOTU exclusive not only plays to my overall love of the property, but also reaches me in my joy of reunions. Yes, after near thirty years of being apart from her plastic family, Eternia’s Earthling queen, Marlena, will finally be reunited with her kingly husband and super-powered children. Beyond that though, she is finally being reunited with legions of Masters fans that have been waiting forever for this release.

The Story of the Queen
Now you know the REST of the story

As I mentioned, with SDCC looming and a bit of work to get through before I leave, I will try to make this as much to the point as possible and allow the pictures to “talk the talk”. I know it might be high schmaltz to talk about Queen Marlena’s homecoming, but for me, it really is significant. For one, I have always liked the character. I mean, she is not Mer-Man or Spikor or Mossman to me, but I really enjoyed her in the FilMation cartoon, and I think she was one of the best-handled in terms of characterization. Sure, she was not in a TON of episodes, but the stories about her (Especially The Rainbow Warrior) did a lot to bring her into her own. Plus, she was always the link to Earth (something that she retains in the MOTUC canon as well) and that was always very important to me, not just for accessibility to Eternia but also to show that perhaps it took being [at least half] human to be unlock the full power of the universe. Yeah, she is the freakin’ Queen of Eternia and the mother of the most powerful twins in the history of everything. About bloody time she got a figure, indeed! Oh, and have not mentioned (and do you really not know by now) that Cringer – CRINGER(!) is also along for the ride?

The air of completion that comes with these two is about as thick as you can possibly get in the MOTU-verse. Sure, there are a ton of characters that still have never had figures (hopefully enter: FilMation) but I would argue that none, even if I prefer them personally, are more important than Marlena and Cringer. This is big. The royal family of Eternos is now, for all intents and purposes, complete (I will be the guy that pulls the “I need King Miro” card) and as Adam is to He-Man, so goes Cringer to his Battle Cat. The MOTUC line has always been about going rather big at Comic Con, and even with Orko taking up his abode in southern California a year prior, I think this is the biggest Masters exclusive so far.

Queenly Close-Up

Name: Marlena Glenn Rank: Captain Mission: Photog

To make it live up to that acclaim, a MOTUC figure and story has to do two things to make the offering fully serviceable: give us the best plastic incarnation EVER of the character and take what has always been the strong points of characterization and design and make them even better. While MOTUC Marlena enjoys walk-off status with the first point, the fact that her biography and ability to change the figure to her past-life as Captain Glenn seals the deal for the latter. Her bio has taken what I love about her character: cementing that she is an Earthling, she has been a successful space pilot and she is of Eternia of her own free will, and made her even better: she knows her children’s big secret, she was working on the “Photog” project when she was lost to Eternia and she is positioned to be a fundamental character in the future of MOTUC lore. I really cannot think of anything I could ask more of in this case and she is expanded from her FilMation self and wiped clean of her white-washing from MYP. Plus, the figure is formed in the only way I personally would have been satisfied with when it comes to how Marlena should look (I do not like the “old” version from the comics or the native Etenian from MYP) with her ginger hair and green dress, but it also manages to give us, essentially, a full-blown variant (via swappable parts) in her adapted-from-FilMation Captain Glenn togs (complete with her “Rainbow Warrior” insignia). The thought behind the design is actually quite ingenious (it’s those Horsemen again!), so did it come through production properly? Let’s take a quick look-see.

Accessories
Marlena Scepter, 200x Prince Adam Club thingee
We use this rifle to get food we put on little white sticks
Dress Tabs

Marlena is actually a very well constructed figure and she has none of the weaknesses of joints or brittle plastic that can make for a shaky action figure. She is based off the original female base body so if you have Adora, Catra, Evil-Lyn, et al, you will know what to expect “under the skirt”. For paint, she is fairly basic as her queenly togs are pretty much, well, green. Her golden belt is nicely done though and I like how the gauntlets are done in a more metallic green from the rest of the dress. The Captain Glenn outfit is naturally more interesting and I really like the smaller details like the aforementioned Rainbow Warrior insignia and the “Glenn” name tag. The space tunic is very well done and while it looks like Adora’s outfit at first, it much more refined and makes for a better feminine silhouette.

The King and Queen, at last together, for the first time. Or something.

The heads will probably be the most debated parts of the entire figure. I like the Queen head the most, and if you are a fan of the iconic rendition of Marlena you will recognize it right away. Like I said before, I am so glad they went with this version of Marlena, but if I can pick a nit or two, the expression is pretty serious. Not that there is anything wrong with that, all MOTUC figures have been pretty serious so far (well, save for Mo-Larr) but this queen looks tough a nails. The other spot I wish was done more in line with MOTUC tradition is the eyes. They just aren’t as detailed as what we are used to and she has the whites of her eyes with solid black dots. Now, maybe she does have black eyes, but they are missing the light reflection dots and any color what so ever. Personally, I don’t think this is indicative of anything as far as trends go, but if Mattel does have the rights to FilMation, and I think they do, this is a small but important detail that I hope they observe when adapting over all of those characters that I desperately need. Bring the characters into the MOTUC aesthetic, that formula will make everything right. Not that I don’t think the head doesn’t look good, I think it does and it even though she looks very serious, this is Queen Marlena. The Captain Glenn head works well too for a more utilitarian look with her ponytail. The face looks pretty much exactly the same as the Queen version with all of the same qualities, but with the hair pulled back, the cheek bones come out and she captures a slight resemblance to Teela.

The Rainbow Warrior
Pew Pew!
Smokin' Space Pin-Up

The functionality of the outfits is very successful as well and I think this might have been a bit of a test for some swappable female outfits in the future. The tabs on the back work very, very well to keep the costumes closed but they are easy to separate when you want to change them. The Captain Glenn suit seams up the back a little better but both are done well. As Captain Glenn, Marlena does not miss any posability that you have come to expect in MOTUC and because the hip section of the suit is done in a more streamlined fashion (then say, Adora) and the plastic gets thinner towards the bottom, she can get some great poses. Of course, as the Queen, you will expect that the movement becomes extremely restricted. As the Queen, she can stand and look queenly, but she will not be doing any running for sitting on her throne. But, the shape it creates is so perfect to the FilMation cartoon, I think a lot of people are going to love it. The dress is not as soft as Evil-Lyn’s outfit, but it is much more pliable than Adora and the rest; it is probably closest to Catra’s outfit, but there is a lot more of it.

Ground Control to Captain Glenn...

Finally, past her “outfit change” accessories, Marlena also includes a repurposed Adora blaster, Battle Ground Teela sword and all-new rifle and scepter/staff. Oh yeah, and Cringer. The blaster and sword need not be too deeply expanded upon as if you have the previous owner’s versions, they now have green accents but are essentially the same. Both are serviceable to the Captain and Queen get-ups, but both of them are my less-preferred weapon of choice for either version. For Captain Glenn I really like the space rifle that is fashioned from the rifle that He-Man uses in the Masters motion picture. So that makes movie He-Man and Teela’s weapons present in the line and since the movie took place mostly on Earth, it is a nice wink that the woman from Earth would carry them with her. However, since I plan on displaying my Marlena figure as the Queen along with her husband, I will be using the scepter for her. It looks regal enough and it kind of matches the sword and staff that was given to Randor so if you are displaying them together, and you probably are, it will be a nice little connection. Unless you are like me, and you might be, and have given Randor his vintage weapon from the second Pak, which I have very un-creatively dubbed the Spear of Eternos. The other thing about the staff is that, if you are a 200x fan, you will see that it bears a striking resemblance to the launching club weapon thingee that came with the Prince Adam figure. No stone left unturned in this case and I am always a fan of having lots of accessories to afford us the most options as possible.

Adam ruins the Christmas card photo every year.

Then there is Cringer, and it is arguable that more fans have been waiting for a figure of him than even Marlena. That makes for a pretty devastating one-two punch when it comes to providing a sought-after exclusive. However, I cannot really refer to this version of Cringer (dubbed the “young” version) a figure as such, and for several reasons. At best I would call him a figurine, and at worst I have heard him referred to as a generic “accessory”. I don’t think I would go that far, but Mattel has already said (informally) that another version, perhaps the “older” version, is not outside the realm of possibility later on down the line. So for the purposes of this Look, I think I like and will stick with the classification of figurine.

Cat, you'll be a tiger soon.

A boy and his kitty

I think that is fair as he is really just a solid hunk of plastic, but he really does look like [the FilMation] Cringer, right down to his snaggle tooth which might be my favorite part of the entire figure. He does move with a neck and tail swivel so you have a little bit of latitude when posing him on the shelf and his head positioning can actually add a lot to his expression. Not that that means you will be able to get him in a position to cower mid-transformation but I plan on placing him standing slightly behind Adam looking around his legs tentatively, and for that, the figurine works. Now, I would still love to get a fully functional Cringer someday (perhaps sharing from a Clawdeen or panther Catra form) but for something that really is a pack-in to Marlena, I find enjoyment in finally having a representation of Cringer on my shelf.

The Royal Court of Eternia
A mother's pain

Overall, as a MOTUC SDCC exclusive, I think Queen Marlena is probably my favorite offering so far, even slightly surpassing Adam and Orko if you can believe it. Maybe it just the fact that I have never had a Marlena figure pushes her over the edge, but really, but do you really need another reason? Alright, yes you do, she has to be a good figure and I think that she is, no matter the way you want to display her. It is really lovely to have her amongst her family on the shelf and her arrival means so much to me I built a half-assed palace throne room for her. Sure, I will have her protected by the Palace Guards (where’s my damned Clamp Champ?) but it is nice to know that it is more ceremonial than anything else and that the good queen can certainly take care of herself. If you are not attending the convention (where she is packed out and bio’d as Queen Marlena) you can catcher her on Matty Collector August 1st in her Captain Glenn togs (no matter the package configuration, you get all of the parts for both display options). Thanks for checking this out and we will be moving to the DC Universe for our next First Look. We still have much to do!

A Mother always knows...

*Super thanks to Danielle, Rhobyn, Scott and their entire gang for getting us the Queen in such a hurry, we realize how frantic it must be in preparing for next week!

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14 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Queen Marlena

  1. can’t wait until I get both versions of Marlena. cool pics & good review on all 3 characters. the wait ends on Friday for me!

  2. She’s looking cool to me, but all I can think of is that cool throne room set. I want it!

  3. The eyes are really weird (doesn’t look bad however) but there’s no doubt that this is one of the coolest MOTUC figures to date.

  4. Long Live The Queen! 😀
    Can’t wait to get her. I already reserve a place for her on my shelf. Both of her, I mean! 🙂

  5. I agree with the following posters. I’m definitely not a fan of the eyes and if I wasn’t a completest and so anxious to get a Marlena in plastic, I’d pass, too because the eyes just…just frankly suck balls.

  6. VeeBee wrote: Yeah, she is the freakin’ Queen of Eternia and the mother of the most powerful twins in the history of everything.
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    I have to disagree; the mother of the most powerful child in the history of everything was another astronaut named Lara Lor-Vann.

  7. Those eyes, those eyes!!!

    Shouldn’t her eye look a lot better for being a SDCC exclusive?…lol!

  8. Loving this figure overall (I shall get two) but those cartoony eyes are killing me. She almost doesn’t look like she’s from the same line.

  9. The “cartoon/black dot” eyes make this an easy pass for me also.

    I was considering chasing down a Randor (who I originally passed on) when Queen Marlena was announced so that I could have the complete Royal Family, but the eye paint application chosen by Mattel, Marlena just doesn’t seem like she is part of the same line as Randor, Adam and Adora. I know it’s a minor element of the overall figure, but the “heads/faces” are the most important element for me in terms of character recognition.

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